The Best Bench Vises to Hold Your Projects Steady

Everyone needs an extra pair of hands in the shop from time to time—a sturdy bench vise can be the answer.

By Oliver Harriett | Published Nov 25, 2020 2:16 PM

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The Bench Vise Option

Photo: amazon.com

The bench vise is one of the most versatile tools to have in the workshop. Essentially, it is a tool that attaches to your workbench and holds your material firmly in position, so you can use both hands on your tools for more control. Whether you are a DIY enthusiast, homeowner, or woodworker of any skill level, the bench vise lays a solid foundation for you to start working on your various projects. Depending on the type of work you do, you’ll need to consider the type of bench vise—engineering, woodworking, or pipe—which will determine the size, amount of pressure the vise can exert, and the material lining the jaws of the vise. Luckily, many general-purpose bench vises combine these functions and allow some customization by incorporating features of all three types in one tool. In addition to the pressure and jaw type, three measurements matter when considering the best vise for your bench: the throat depth, or how deeply a piece can be inserted into the vise, and the jaw width and opening measurements. We’ve looked at the vises on the market and have identified the best available to support your projects and give you that extra pair of hands.

Our Top Picks

We considered size, durability, materials used, and more to choose the best bench vises.

Best Overall

The Bench Vise Option: TEKTON 4-inch Swivel Bench Vise
Photo: amazon.com

The heavy cast-iron TEKTON 54004 is an outstanding all-purpose bench vise. With a jaw size of 4 inches, jaw opening of 3 inches, and a throat depth of 2 ⅛  inches, the TEKTON can securely grip most standard boards and pipes in its serrated steel jaws. These jaws are removable and replaceable, so if you find you’re working with more delicate materials, you can replace the bite with a more padded material. The jaws are cross-patterned to provide a secure grip to the material while limiting damage. The TEKTON has a 30,000 PSI of pressure on wood, metal, or plastic without having users worry about bending or destroying the material. For added functionality, the back of the vise has a polished anvil for metalwork like bending, flattening, and warping, and the vise rotates around a 120-degree swivel base to put your project exactly where you need it. Three mounting holes are pre-drilled so you can mount the vise securely to your workbench. While this vise is an ideal all-purpose size for any shop, it is available in 6- and 8-inch sizes to accommodate larger pieces, allowing you to choose just the right size for your projects.

Best Heavy-Duty

The Bench Vise Option: Yost Vises Combination Pipe and Bench Vise
Photo: amazon.com

The Yost Vise 480 is a beast: weighing in at 80 pounds of cast iron and steel, the vise has an 8-inch jaw width and a 7 ½ inch jaw depth, balanced against a 4.5-inch throat depth. There isn’t much you’ll need to do in a home or professional shop that this vise can’t accommodate. The base is a geared 360-degree swivel with two lockdown screws for easy, secure positioning, and the main screw is made of machined steel. The jaws are hardened serrated steel and are removable and replaceable. The pipe jaws are cast in place and can accommodate pipes ranging from ⅛ of an inch to 3 inches. A large anvil work surface offers additional utility. Four sturdy mounting tabs allow the vise to be securely mounted on the workbench—once in place, this vise isn’t going anywhere.

Best Multi-Jaw

The Bench Vise Option: Yost Vises 750-DI Multi-Jaw Rotating Vise
Photo: amazon.com

The Yost Vises 750-DI provides a standard jaw at the top of its clamp and a four-piece self-aligning pipe jaw in the throat. The pipe jaws adjust to the item being clamped so create as many touchpoints with the piece as possible, resulting in maximum clamping pressure without marring the surface of the item. The vise is made from 60,000 PSI ductile iron, providing two times the overall clamping force (over 9000 pounds of clamping pressure) as other vises on the market. The vise head rotates 360 degrees with 12 preset locking positions and a pull-pin locking mechanism instead of a turn screw lock, permitting faster and more secure positioning. In addition, the vise head can tilt. The main jaw width is 5 inches, with a jaw opening of 5 inches and a throat depth of 4 inches. The Yost 750-DI is a great choice for both expert and DIY use when the vise will be called upon for multiple types of projects—it can handle the smallest pipes and large board stock with equal ease.

Best Bang for the Buck

The Bench Vise Option: Yost LV-4 Home Vise
Photo: amazon.com

For those looking for a high-quality, durable, basic vise for the home workshop, the Yost LV-4 can provide everything you need without breaking the bank. The solid build construction you expect from Yost can reassure buyers that this is a durable tool despite its surprisingly low cost. Made from cast-iron with a jaw size of 4-1/2inches and an opening of 3 inches, this model is big enough for most clamping and bench project work. The base can be rotated to 240 degrees for versatility, and the replaceable machined serrated jaws prevent slippage. This Yost’s newly-improved base has four mounting tabs that reduce the side-to-side motion of the piece while you’re working for a more stable piece. This vise is appropriate for most home workshops and is a great all-purpose option.